I lost my classical concert virginity last night at the Royal Festival Hall. It was Stephen Hough’s Liszt recital with the Budapest Festival Orchestra, conducted by Iván Fischer. I’m still reeling. As soon as Stephen started playing – it was the Piano Concerto No 1 in E flat – my jaw dropped (actually). I was transfixed, bewitched, spellbound. I’m told that Stephen took more risks with the piece than other performers and played it faster than usual. That figures. At some points, his hands were a pale whirring blur. As his fingers crashed down in elaborate positions all over the keys, my stunned wonder increased. Why on earth hadn’t I been to a classical music concert before?

Do read the whole thing please.


  1. The problem is there aren’t that many pianists like Stephen Hough, so she’s probably set herself up for a life of disappointment. I heard him do the non-well-known Tchaikovsky piano concerto with the San Francisco Symphony a few years ago, and my jaw similarly dropped watching his hands turn into a dervish-like blur.

  2. I sure hope I get to hear him live sometime. I read his tweets … but that’s just not the same, is it? 😉

    Thanks for the comment! (Even though it makes me worry that she’ll never be thrilled again. How sad.)

  3. Stephen is one amazing musician! And… he also loves Puddings, is a collector of great art, and has a way with the English language that few people do.

    As a pianist, he’s awsome!